Best Practices in Project Planning.

The world has evolved technologically and all aspects of our daily lives have been affected including the area of Project Management. Despite the odds, organizations expect projects to be completed faster, cheaper, and better. The only way that these objectives can be met is through the use of effective project management processes and techniques. I have listed below, three best practices for managing a successful project in the era of technology.

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Planning

Despite the availability of technological tools to ease and quicken a project implementation, planning still remains the important phase of a project. This is the phase where the general idea about the project is conceived. But most importantly, it is the phase if done properly can lead to the most cost saving. This is because planning does not only help us with conceiving the general idea about what the project is about; it also enables us to decide the kind of tools to employ, our methodology and the type of labor to employ. This enables the project manager to cover a lot of grounds before hitting the ground running. Take for example a skyscraper building project, the planning phase in such a project will enable the project manager know what kind of metal to use (steel or aluminum), the kind of technology to use (cranes or manual labor) etc. This when done gives the project manager a lot of room to forecast impending challenges and tackle them.  So to project managers out there always plan!

Look for warning signs

With most of the thinking done in the planning phase and implementation in motion, a project manager ought to anticipate and be curious to look for signals showing that the project may be in trouble. These could include the following:

  • A small variance in schedule or budget starts to get bigger, especially early in the project. There is a tendency to think you can make it up, but this is a warning. If the tendencies are not corrected quickly, the impact will be unrecoverable.
  • You discover that activities you think have already been completed are still being worked on. For example, users whom you think have been migrated to a new platform are still not.
  • You need to rely on unscheduled overtime to hit the deadlines, especially early in the project.
  • Team morale starts to decline.
  • Deliverable quality or service quality starts to deteriorate. For instance, users start to complain that their converted e-mail folders are not working correctly.
  • Quality-control steps, testing activities, and project management time starts to be cut back from the original schedule. A big project, such as an Exchange migration, can affect everyone in your organization. Don’t cut back on the activities that ensure the work is done correctly.

Resolve issues as quickly as possible

Issues are big problems. For instance, in an Exchange migration, the Exchange servers you ordered aren’t ready and configured on time. Or perhaps the Windows forest isn’t set up correctly and needs to be redesigned. The project manager should manage open issues diligently to ensure that they are being resolved. If there is no urgency to resolve the issue or if the issue has been active for some time, it may not really be an issue. It may be a potential problem (risk), or it may be an action item that needs to be resolved at some later point. Real issues, by their nature, must be resolved with a sense of urgency.

Practice the Best!

Read more on Project Management:

Project Risk Management

Lessons Learned

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